Travelodge has launched a new hotel concept called Metro, which will see it build up to 100 small hotels with 20-40 rooms in cities, tourist spots, and office blocks by 2020.

The company said it was targeting: the City of London, London boroughs such as Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster and Fulham, Cornwall, Devon, the Lake District, the Highlands, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Cardiff, Bristol, Chester, St Albans and Edinburgh.

Travelodge said the new format would allow it to open properties near to existing Travelodges and in locations where larger development sites were either not available or had "unrealistic price expectations".

It added that the type of buildings considered in the new scheme included: floors in office buildings, business parks, pubs, old cinemas/theatres, snooker halls, listed buildings, retail outlets and derelict buildings.

The plan to build smaller Travelodge hotels has been inspired by two successful pilot ventures the company invested in during 2010. The first initiative was opening a 43-bedroom "Metro" style prototype hotel in a Georgian listed building in one of Edinburgh's busiest tourist areas in Rose Street, close to Princes Street.

The second venture was the conversion of 52 Innkeeper's Lodges into the Travelodge estate, following their purchase from Mitchells & Butlers in July 2010.

Guy Parsons, chief executive of Travelodge Hotels, said: "Following the success of our Edinburgh 'Metro' prototype hotel and the conversion of 52 Innkeeper's Lodges to the Travelodge brand, we have discovered just how profitable smaller hotels can be for us. Therefore, to accelerate our growth strategy we are going to start building 'Metro' style hotels across the UK. This concept will allow us to open hotels where other hoteliers can't develop. We are looking to open 100 'Metro' Travelodges in prime spots where are customers need us, by 2020. Our desired locations will include: office buildings, business parks, major cities, popular holiday destinations and within London's affluent boroughs."

"The 'Metro' model will also allow us to expand in our top-performing locations where there are few 60-room-plus sites available. Downsizing our hotel building requirements will open hundreds of development opportunities for us. This will enable us to expand quickly and meet the growing demands from consumers who want low cost and good-quality accommodation in prime locations."

This new building approach will run alongside Travelodge's existing growth strategy to expand to 1,100 hotels and 100,000 rooms by 2025. The "Metro" style properties will still be called Travelodge hotels and the room size will be based on a standard double Travelodge room (15sq ft).

Travelodge currently has 472 hotels (over 32,000 rooms) across the UK and is building 40 hotels this year.

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By Neil Gerrard

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